A Deeper Insight on MBTI

A summary of insights by Greythama Tornado on personality tests and having a better understanding of our personalities

Currently, there are so many kind of personality tests, from Szondi Test that uses a series of facial photographs which represent people who have been classified as homosexual, sadist, epileptic, hysteric, catatonic, paranoid, depressive and a maniac, until DISC personalities that uses 28 questions to measure dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. Out of all of these personality tests, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most commonly used test.

In the 1920s, the idea of personality type was being explored by leading scientists and philosophers. A Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, wrote Psychological Types during that time, in which he gave a detailed description of what has now become one of the most widely used typologies in the world. Basically, Carl Jung introduced his analytical psychology into four main concepts, namely: The concept of extrovert and introvert; The concept of cognitive function; Archetype Anima & Animus Shadow; and Individuation Complex Synchronicity.

In the 1940s, Isabel Myers began developing a self-report questionnaire—the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument— that could help people find where they fit in Jung’s theory, especially the Extrovert and Introvert Concept, and also Cognitive Function Concept. The use of this instrument has led to an almost universal understanding that there are sixteen basic personality types, each of which can be ‘named’ by a four-letter personality type code. In 1970, David Keirsey also introduced the Concept of Temperament Sorter which divides human temperaments into four, namely Guardians, Artisans, Rationals, and Idealists which turned out to be closely related and even used in classifying personalities in MBTI.

“We must understand that we are all basically the same, but at the same time, we are also different.”

But it must be known, that the MBTI was created by a writer, an author, not a psychologist. As a result, there is some irrelevance academically. Even so, as writers, they can be said to have succeeded in selling MBTI through characters introduced from each type of personality. There are several fatal weaknesses that exist in MBTI, namely:

  • Skipping a lot of important principles, frameworks, and theory.
  • Creates a conscious & unconscious exclusivity.
  • Stereotyping.
  • Limiting your knowledge and experience.
  • It doesn’t create a distinction between personality, behavior, attitude, characters and so on.
  • Therefore it creates misunderstanding on how to utilize personality theory

It is important to understand that behavior, attitude, and personality are three different things. Behavior is talking about actions that appear from the outside, attitude is a response and motivation for someone to do the action, and there is personality which will naturally form thinking patterns to have certain responses and motivations. Among these weaknesses, it can be simplified that the main weakness of the MBTI lies in the very easily biased interpretation of the results of the tests conducted. It is important to understand that behavior, attitude, and personality are three different things.

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